New Year, New Look for Hendrick Motorsports

by Brandon Rivero On Mon, Jan. 22, 2018

Photo Credit: Brad Keppel

This upcoming season Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) will have a new distinctive look. Not only are they running the new

Chevy Camaro ZL1, they’ll debut their new paint schemes, and add two youngsters to their lineup.

Jimmie Johnson will be back in the No. 48 Lowes Chevy Camaro ZL1 and Chase Elliot will make his debut in the No. 9 Napa Auto Parts Chevy Camaro ZL1.

HMS will also field the new driver of the No. 24 Axalta Chevy Camaro ZL1, rookie William Byron. Taking over the No. 88 Nationwide Chevy Camaro ZL1 is Alex Bowman, which has raced in 81 Monster Energy Cup Series races.

Johnson will begin his 17th full-time Cup Series season. Last season, HMS announced a three-year contract extension for the 42 year old that would keep him in the No. 48 team through 2020.

“I’ve said it before and continued to say that when the fire does go out, I will step down,” Johnson said. “I don’t have any framework now on a timeline. I just know that I’ve got three more years of trying to go out there and win championships and win races. I’m as hungry as I’ve ever been and as focused and dedicated on doing my job.”

Johnson and the No. 48 team went to victory lane three times, scored four top-five finishes, and finished tenth in the point standings.

The No. 48 team’s championship hopes ended at Phoenix when Johnson blew a tire and took them out of the race.

Johnson is a seven-time champion with 83 career wins and is pursuing to capture an eighth championship in 2018.

The 2017 season was Elliot’s second full-time season in the Cup Series. Elliot did not make it to victory lane but finished second five times.

Even though Elliot did not win a race, he made it far into the playoffs. Elliot finished second at Phoenix, making him a position shy of racing in the Championship 4 at Miami.

Elliot had the opportunity to test the new Camaro ZL1 earlier this month. “Behind the wheel it’s really hard to tell what changes are when you are out there by yourself,” Elliott said during a break in a Goodyear tire test at Texas Motor Speedway. “I think the changes will probably become more apparent, hopefully, when we get to say Atlanta or get to some of the tracks that the changes are going to become important at.”

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Bank of America 500
Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, NC USA
Thursday 5 October 2017
Hendrick Motorsports 2018 Daytona 500 cars unveil.
World Copyright: Nigel Kinrade

This season, the Dawsonville native will begin his third full-time season in the No. 9 Napa Auto Parts Chevy Camaro ZL1.

The 22 year old has been close to winning races already so don’t be surprised to see him in victory lane a couple times next season and make another run for a championship.

Bowman will be taking over the No. 88 Nationwide Chevy Camaro ZL1. Bowman, 24, made his Cup Series debut in 2014 for BK Racing.

After running the 2015 season for Tommy Baldwin Racing, Bowman lost his cup ride.

In 2016 while Dale Earnhardt Jr was injured, Bowman was named the interim driver of the No. 88. In the ten races Bowman ran, he earned three top-ten finishes and a pole.

Last season, Bowman ran two races in the XFINITY Series for Chip Ganassi Racing and captured a victory at Charlotte.

Bowman is excited and ready to start the 2018 season. “I definitely just want to get there and get going, just so I can mentally be like, ‘OK, I’m fine, I didn’t forget how to drive a race car,'” Bowman said.

Bowman may not have been in a racecar for a while, but has experience in the Cup Series and it may lead him to victory lane in the 2018 season.

The flames are back on the No. 24 car and this time it will be driven by Charlotte, North Carolina native William Byron. Byron will make his Cup Series debut next month at Daytona.

The 19 year old is coming off an XFINITY Series championship and is ready to prove his dominance in the Cup Series.

“I’m going to try to win and compete hard for wins and championships,” he said. “I think we’re really qualified to do that at Hendrick Motorsports and I have a lot of great people around me.”

Byron started off his racing career on iRacing. After having success online, he began racing legend cars at the age of 15 and since then has proven himself up in the ranks.

In 2016, Byron won seven times in the Truck Series. Last year, Byron won four races in the XFINITY Series and won the championship.

Byron has showed skill and knowledge behind the wheel these last couple of years. Don’t be surprised to see him pull into victory lane as a rookie in the Cup Series.

Follow @MrBrandonRivero for his latest articles

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